We are excited to share the music of Crystal Rose on Listen Local. A talented singer whose skills as a songwriter are coming to the fore with last year's single "Come Alive" and a forthcoming EP of original material, Rose describes in this interview how she overcame a lack of confidence in the recording studio and how this experience pushed her to develop new music. Expect to see Rose on stage in and around Kansas City a lot in the coming months. Enjoy her music and recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog.
Please introduce yourself. Where are you from and where do you live?
Hi, my name is Crystal Rose and I live in the heart of Kansas City.
Tell us about your recently released first single “Come Alive.” Where was it recorded? What was that process like?
Come Alive is the single I released in May of 2016. I recorded it at JTL Group in Grandview, MO with Aaron Cooper, a crazy talented producer.
I’m proud of that song not just because of the great quality, writing and production but I love how much I grew as an artist from the process of writing it. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone the entire time. Admittedly, working in the studio was in initially intimidating. My writing was still in a very premature state when I arrived at JTL and so was my confidence. I sat In a room with a few studio writers and wrote a couple days out of the week… Just to get my feet wet. I had never been in a writing session before then. It’s an interesting kind of safe space that I don’t think you ever truly get used to. It’s a space where every idea is encouraged to be heard even if the original idea doesn’t make the final cut. I feel like I could talk about it for days and never really describe it really, but there’s something beautiful about creating together.
You’ve shared many cover versions of songs you love, from Etta James to Ed Sheeran to Ben E. King. How have these artists shaped you as a songwriter?
Etta James, wow. When I hear Etta James sing, it’s as if I was there during that beautiful, tragic experience she’s singing about. I love the simplicity of her music and the rawness and pain in her voice. The music that backs her is always beautiful but I think she tells the story in her voice. As a songwriter, right now I usually lean towards less is more when layering instruments. Ed Sheeran also has an beautiful way of telling stories and I think he showcases that best through his lyrics and that falsetto as well. And Ben E. King - my feelings towards him are similar to those of Etta James.
How much progress have you made toward your first EP? What can fans expect in 2017?
Well, last year when I set out to record and EP, I actually really didn’t have songs written. The goal was to write them at the studio but I didn’t raise enough money to produce a full EP so we released a single instead. But now It’s different story. I have enough songs to record the full EP now. I do plan on launching another campaign in efforts to raising the funds but I don’t have any dates set as of now. I’m excited about this project because It’s about some of the biggest moments in my life this past year.
I think the biggest thing people can expect in 2017 is me playing more of my own music. Playing covers forever can kill the soul. I’m backed by a band now so that’s different and I guess I’m just experimenting with the sound and musicians I have. The band consists of four us and we’ve got some folk/indie/pop thing going on with the same soul vocals you recognize. There are some sweet, sweet harmonies floating around too. I’ll be playing some well known local festivals too, I’m pretty excited about that. In some way It makes me feel like I’m really apart of what’s happening here in KC. So yeah,expect me to release music and play more shows and have a stronger social media presence… that’s important.
What inspires you about music in Kansas City?
Music in Kansas City is collaborative, evolving, appreciated, welcomed, encouraged, and growing. I don’t think KC has arrived but KC doesn’t give up and keeps going. So I guess, the future and the drive excites me as well. Genres blend like crazy here and people aren’t scared of it. Music here encourages me to keep singing, keep writing, to reach out to other musicians, learn and create together. It encourages me to go out and support other musicians
Crystal's recommendations from the Johnson County Library catalog:
The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael
This book has dramatically impacted the way I view myself as an artist and creator not just with my music but with my life. Erwin says that the most beautiful thing anyone can create is their life and that Is everyone’s responsibility.
Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker
Christian anything usually gets a bad wrap but this Christian fiction novel is so good. No one touches Frank E. Peretti and Ted Dekker. You’re not even aware that you’re reading Christian fiction.
House by Frank E. Peretti
This is actually my favorite book of all time, hands down. I’ve read it too many times to count and always suggest it to a friend, I even gift it. "House" appears to be a twisted thriller laced with murder and crime but it’s actually about issues of the heart. It’s about the fears and secrets we bury deep down and refuse to acknowledge. Reading It forces me to reexamine my heart and correct anything vile in it.
Live Love Lead by Brian Houston
This is a beautiful true story of how one of the greatest leaders of our time came to be the Pastor of Hillsong Church, a global church of 100,000 people, weekly. I respect and admire Pastor Brian Houston completely but after reading his book I felt like I knew him. Like I knew his struggle,with every high and low.
The Skin I’m In by Sharon Flake
Growing up as a poor black girl in the many different cities I lived in, I am able to relate to the main character Maleeka in so many ways because her story looks mine. This is a story about her journey of becoming and learning to love herself in her skin. I would pick up this book whenever I felt ashamed of who I was and how I looked and I knew that I wasn’t alone. Maleeka and I would rise up against society, together. Reading about her bravery somehow gave me permission to be brave as well.